Sources in Medieval Culture and History
This reader is appropriate as a main text or a supplementary text for courses on medieval history, medieval literature, art history, and humanities.
The wide range of primary sources featured in this book trace the development of medieval civilization from the era of the Roman Emperor Diocletian to the late fourteenth century. The events of these years are viewed from various perspectives, including selections from legal documents, annals, letters, contemporaneous biographies, paintings, theological and philosophical treatises, historical writings, architecture, and literary extracts. Author Kay Slocum has chosen the sources to integrate social and cultural history with more traditional material and, as a result, selections that inform the student about women and marginal groups in the medieval world are included alongside works that treat topics that are more common in the field.
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
- A chronological approach that makes it easier for students to trace the evolution of ideas and styles from one period to the next. Fourteen chapters, arranged in chronological order, feature selections from primary sources that are carefully coordinated to furnish an overview of the political and cultural life of the medieval period.
- A highly visual approach that demonstrates to students that painting, tapestries, and architecture are also “primary sources” that reveal as much about a culture as written documents. Each chapter contains features called “Interpreting the Evidence,” in which visual sources are specifically coordinated with written documents, offering students an opportunity to compare various ways of viewing an individual or a topic.
- A diverse and unique selection of sources. The documents and images in Sources in Medieval Culture and History represent a broad spectrum of topics involving medieval civilization and illustrate social, intellectual, literary, and artistic history, as well as the political developments of the era. The book contains many documents traditionally included in medieval history source readers and it enhances this traditional content with selections that offer greater variety and style.
- Some chapters focus on cultural history and include commentary on art and architecture, as well as selections from literature and philosophical works.
- Social and cultural diversity. The inclusion of material from Muslim and Byzantine areas, as well as material that deals with women and marginal groups, illustrates the multifaceted nature of medieval civilization.
- Geographical diversity. The documents in this collection address various aspects of life in both the Empire in the West, eventually known as the “Holy Roman Empire,” and the Byzantine Empire in the East, which endured until the fifteenth century, and these documents often trace interactions between the two empires.
- Pedagogical aids that provide students with a thorough understanding of the sources included in the text:
- Most chapters begin with a map showing where the cultures and civilizations discussed in the chapter are located.
- Chapter introductions provide an overview of the cultures, regions, and periods covered in each chapter and connect them to the specific sources featured in the chapter.
- Source introductions provide more detailed background on the sources themselves as well as on the writers and artists that created them.
- Questions for Discussion follow each source and help students focus on some of the important ideas addressed within the source. These questions can also be used to stimulate class discussion or as the basis for written assignments.
- Cross-references are used throughout the book to coordinate basic themes and to trace them from one civilization to another, providing students with a sense of continuity over time and space or, in some cases, extreme contrast.
- A Thematic Table of Contents offers an alternate organizing principle for the book. In addition to the standard table of contents at the beginning of the book reflecting the chronological organization of the material, there is also a thematic table of contents for instructors and students who choose to view the history of the era topically or thematically. The thematic table of contents can be used to facilitate an alternative method of teaching the era and provides ready access to the material for classes in humanities, art history, and medieval literature as well as standard history courses.
Kay Slocum is the Gerhold Professor of Humanities at Capital University, where she is a member of the History Department. She teaches courses in Western Civilization and Medieval History, and has received the Praestantia Award for Excellence in Teaching. Other awards include an ACLS Grant for Recent Recipients of the Ph.D., NEH grants for participation in two Summer Seminars and two Summer Institutes, an NEH Travel to Collections grant, and a Lilly Grant for research. Her publications include Liturgies in Honour of Thomas Becket (University of Toronto Press, 2004), Medieval Civilization (Laurence King, 2005) and many articles concerning liturgy and music in medieval culture. She is an active member of the Medieval Academy of America and the American Musicological Association.
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